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Amtrak operates more than 300 trains each day on 21,300 miles (34,000 km) of track with select segments having civil operating speeds of 150 mph (240 km/h) and connecting more than 500 destinations in 46 states in addition to three Canadian provinces. In fiscal year 2014, Amtrak served 30.9 million passengers and had $2.189 billion in revenue while employing more than 20,000 people. Nearly two-thirds of passengers come from the ten largest metropolitan areas and 83% of passengers travel on routes of 400 miles or less. Its headquarters is at Union Station in Washington, D.C.
Amtrak began operations in May 1971 with a mixture of equipment from its predecessor railroads, much of which was painted in a variety of railroad-specific paint schemes. This era was later referred to as the Rainbow Era, due to the mix-matched colorful trains Amtrak used. Amtrak elected not to keep the same rolling stock on the same routes and it was not unexpected to find rolling stock from anywhere in the US on any train. To build the brand of Amtrak as a unified passenger railroad, the equipment was gradually repainted into system-wide Phases starting around 1972 with Phase I.
The phases are referred in numerical sequential order, usually in Roman numerals. Up until the introduction of the Acela, phases were painted on all equipment. However since 2000 Amtrak has started splitting phases up between equipment with locomotives getting Phase V and cars getting Phase IVb. While previously locomotives and rail cars could be painted in different styles they were still referred to as being in the same phase, with often the locomotive versions getting an unofficial nickname.
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